When we think spice, we often think heat. We hear people ask, ‘is it spicy?’, when they actually mean ‘is it hot?’ Spices are often sweet, warm and pungent too.
Spices can be intimidating when unlabelled. Perhaps because they can appear in so many different forms, be it strange seeds, buds, bark, kernels, berries, pods and fruit of trees, vines, leaves, shrubs or even grasses. We invite you to be unafraid.
Consider spices your secret culinary weapons. They’re calorie-free, often have healing properties and can transform dishes from ordinary to complex and sophisticated. The most exciting thing about discovering different spices, for us, is the constant ability to experiment and play!
Spices have been used since time began, often as medicine, and it’s no wonder. Here are just a few examples of what spices can do for your health and well-being:
- Black Pepper: acts as an antidepressant
- Cardamom: counteracts digestive problems such as bloating, heartburn and loss of appetite
- Paprika: very good for maintaining eye health
- Coriander seed: controls blood sugar levels
- Star Anise: a natural anti-fungal
- Cloves: very good for treating tooth decay. A natural anaesthetic
- Fennel Seeds: thought to prevent osteoporosis
- Cinnamon: helps aid weight loss
- Chilli: helps speed up metabolism
- Saffron: used to prevent insomnia
- Turmeric: a natural antiseptic
Try using a what you might consider a ‘savoury’ spice, like black pepper, in sweet dishes like ice cream. It sounds mad but it really can pay off and create something utterly warm and complex, rounding out sweetness with pepperiness and warmth. Look out for more of my spicy recipe ideas over the next few weeks…
Gousto is on a mission to transform January from a bland month of dust settling into 31 aromatic days of tantalising culinary discovery. Each week this month, discover a new spice as I talk you through its seductive properties and demonstrate how its flavours will truly enhance your cooking. Happy new year!
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